BLUE SPRINGS • Every Thursday evening, Sue Waters puts out a spread at her home and invites her family to come eat with her.

She might make a Crock-Pot roast, creamed potatoes, green beans, pinto beans, creamed corn, fried okra and a cobbler, or it could be pork tenderloins, boiled cabbage, creamed potatoes, green bean bundles, baked beans, squash and onions, and a cake.

“My granddaughter’s boyfriend always says, ‘When family comes to eat, if they go away hungry, it’s their own fault,” said Waters, 72.

Waters has a Blue Springs address, but she actually lives at the northern end of Birmingham Ridge Road.

“I grew up within a quarter of a mile from here and it’s really the only place I’ve ever lived,” Waters said.

Her father died when she was 2 and her mother was a schoolteacher who didn’t enjoy cooking for Waters and her older brother, so her grandmothers filled the void.

“Grandmother Graves lived across the road and Grandmother Skinner lived three miles away,” she said. “They were wonderful old country cooks. They killed hogs and made sausage, went to the well to pump water, went to the garden to pick whatever we were going to eat. Whenever Grandmother Skinner got ready to go to the kitchen, the first thing she’d do was come get me. I learned to cook by helping them. They’d put me right in the middle of it.”

Waters spent her career in computer programming and accounting.

“When the third computer came to Tupelo in the 1960s, I helped program it,” she said. “The first one was at the Courthouse, the second was at Penn Tire and the third was at Super Sagless.”

She also worked at Reed’s Manufacturing in their computer department for 20 years, then worked in accounting for a CPA in Baldwyn before retiring from the accounting department at BancorpSouth.

Waters’ husband, Harold Kyle, died in 2017. They were married for 37 years and shared four children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Because all the kids go their own ways on Sundays after church, Waters decided to do her big family meal on Thursdays.

“I usually have a good bit of leftovers, but I tell you, my family is an eating crew,” she said. “They can go through two gallons of chicken and dumplings in a day. Every one of them makes a plate to go and that thrills me because that means they’ll get to enjoy another meal I’ve made.”

MEXICAN CORNBREAD

1 1/2 cups self-rising corn meal

1 cup cream-style corn

1 cup milk

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped jalapeños

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup grated cheese

Combine corn meal, corn, milk, eggs, onions, jalapeños and oil. Pour half of the batter into a large greased cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with cheese. Pour remaining batter over cheese, covering it well. Bake at 400 degrees until done and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

STRAWBERRY CAKE

1 box yellow or white cake mix

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 small box strawberry gelatin

1 box frozen strawberries, thawed

4 eggs

1 tablespoon self-rising flour

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and beat. Pour batter into a greased and floured tube pan and bake at 350 degrees until done, about 40 minutes to 1 hour.

TACO SOUP

1 pound ground beef

Chopped onions (optional)

1 can Ro-tel tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (26-ounce) can tomato soup

2 packages ranch dressing mix

2 packages taco seasoning

2 cans whole kernel corn

2 cans pinto beans

Fritos, shredded cheese and sour cream

In a soup pot, brown meat with onions. Add Ro-tel, diced tomatoes, tomato soup, seasoning packets, corn and beans. Let simmer about 30 minutes, until thickened. To serve, place some Fritos in a bowl. Pour some soup over and garnish with cheese and sour cream.

LEMON PEPPER CHICKEN BREASTS

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Kosher salt

Black pepper

White pepper

Olive oil

Butter

Juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

Wash chicken, then salt and pepper it. Place a little olive oil and a pat of butter in a cast iron skillet and brown both sides of the chicken. To the skillet, add lemon juice and chicken stock, then another pat of butter. Place skillet in oven and bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until done.

POTATO SOUP

1 (5-pound) bag red potatoes

1 can cream of broccoli soup

1 can cream of onion soup

1 can cream of celery soup

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1 cup Cheez Whiz

Peel and cube potatoes. Put in a large soup pot and cover with water. Do not season. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender. Add canned soups and stir gently until soups are blended. Cook gently for a few minutes. Add sour cream and Cheez Whiz and cook until all ingredients are blended.

HONEY-BUN CAKE

CAKE

1 box Duncan Hines deluxe yellow cake mix

4 eggs

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup water

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2/3 cup chopped pecans

GLAZE

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the cake, blend cake mix, eggs, oil, water and sour cream in a bowl at medium speed with a mixer until smooth; set aside.

Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans; set aside.

Pour half of the cake mix mixture into a greased and floured 9x13-inch pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the batter. Add remaining cake mix mixture over the brown sugar mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until done and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Pour over the cake while it’s still warm.

CORNBREAD DRESSING

1 large chicken

1 large skillet cooked cornbread

5 to 6 slices loaf bread

4 eggs, beaten

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of celery soup

1/2 large onion, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 1/2 sticks margarine, divided

Chicken broth

Salt and pepper

Sage

Boil chicken until tender. Reserve broth. When chicken is cool enough to handle, slice the breasts off and set aside. Pull the dark meat from the bones and set aside. Discard skin and bones.

In a large bowl, break the cornbread into chunks. Tear the bread in pieces and add to cornbread. Add beaten eggs and canned soups. Add dark chicken meat, onion and celery. Melt 1 stick margarine and add it to the bowl. Season with salt, pepper and sage. Add enough reserved broth to make dressing the consistency of cornbread batter.

Melt the remaining 1/2 stick of margarine in a large pan. Add dressing and bake at 350 degrees until brown on the edges and firm. Slice reserved chicken breasts and serve on the side.

DO YOU KNOW A GOOD COOK? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can call Ginna at (662) 678-1581 or email them to ginna.parsons@journalinc.com.

ginna.parsons@journalinc.com

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